Insurance - Applications Migration

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The Summary


PTS was engaged to assist our insurance client to exit their THREE traditional Data Centres (Production, Test and Dev and Disaster Recovery) to a Regional Cloud solution that has built in Disaster Recovery service. The client already had virtualised most of its estate onto Microsoft Hyper-V although there were a couple of critical systems still running on Physical standalone servers.

As part of the project PTS also:

  • Moved the client’s storage data that includes its core business data as well as shared user data to the new Data Centre.
  • Network services from its own core Data Centres to the new cloud Data Centres.
  • Re-routed Network Security and VPN services to the new Cloud Data Centres.

The PTS team developed the Programme to include the design, installation, pre-migration testing, development of the migration tasks and management of the migration command and control centre to deliver a migration cutover that provided a zero-downtime service to the customer with services restored ready for commencement of the business day on the Monday.

In considering the whole migration was undertaken by the team under COVID lockdown utilising a complete virtual execution, the client was very appreciative of the whole Project Team for their success.

Introduction


PTS was engaged by our insurance client to help the client to plan, design, schedule, communicate and co-ordinate the migration of the client’s Servers, Data and Applications from their current Data Centre to a new shared Cloud service. Services would need to be migrated to align to the needs of the client’s business and risk profile.

The Challenge


The challenge was that rather than the traditional method of working with teams in the office, COVID had impacted the team and with lockdowns, the entire migration activity took place within a virtual environment, with only occasional visits to the Data Centre by some of the technical engineers.

Gaining confidence from a team who had not undertaken this type of activity before, notwithstanding within a virtual environment.

Services needed to be aligned with other Projects and business change freeze periods, as well as the co-ordination of the business users who were to provide End User acceptance Testing and sign off.

The Solution


The PTS team co-ordinated workshops and meetings with the technical teams to identify the current environment, providing templates for the technical towers to complete and collate within a current status. The next steps were to develop the designs for the future environment, ensuring that the compute and storage infrastructure, networking and security systems were clearly understood. A review of the applications was also undertaken to ensure Disaster Recovery services were identified as part of the replication services.

Once the current and future platforms was identified, the team then reviewed the process and steps to be undertaken for the migration from current to future state, identifying any risks along the way.

The Applications and Business Teams were engaged to identify groups of Applications that would move collectively so that Application Groups could be identified.

Finally, the whole team were brought on board and the Migration Plan was pulled together to identify the most optimum process for the migration. The team also collectively identified the activities that could be undertaken prior to the migration. The PTS team pulled the data together into a Migration Runbook (our Minute by Minute plan).

To validate the plan and to de-risk the move, it was agreed that all services were to be built in the new Data Centre and invite users in to test the services and provide feedback on performance and functionality.

Through working with the team and exploring options it was identified that 80% of Applications could be pre-built and prepared before the final cut over.

The Migration was executed over a weekend when data was migrated and the final servers built in the new Data Centre and through a series of tests resulting in End User Acceptance Testing all services were recovered within the allotted Maintenance Window. DR replication was switched on and the final clean up completed prior to the Monday morning Warranty period. After 4 hours with no tickets raised associated with the move, the project team stepped down and the migration was closed.

The Benefits


The key benefit to the customer is knowing that an experienced and skilled team are bringing peace of mind to the client Management Team to migrate services to their new location.

Services are migrated out of hours and the business is not impacted by the changes with user testing undertaken to accept services back into business-as-usual operations.

As part of the Project Governance a complete Communications Plan is developed to ensure the Client is kept abreast of all activities including all Corporate Governance Teams (Compliance, Risk, Audit, Finance and Security) to ensure that business interests are maintained as primary within the project.

“Fantastic work from the teams on a very large and complicated project with numerous stakeholders and lots of moving parts. This was especially admirable given we are in the middle of global pandemic which presented a myriad of challenges both in equipment supply, resource challenges and the fact that many of those involved were working remotely. Fantastic achievement and well done all.”

Chief Executive Office